A message from Supervisor Boddye…
Mental and behavioral health have been on our hearts, minds, and lips lately, and there are a lot of folks out there who have been doing the work behind the scenes even before these issues were in vogue. Last week, I had the opportunity to uplift and meet with some of them.
Potomac District Supervisor Andrea Bailey brought together decision-makers and leaders in a forum about the advent of a new Crisis Receiving Center and Stabilization Unit in Prince William County. (Read more on this initiative.) An all-of-the-above, all-hands-on-deck message was delivered at this gathering, as law enforcement, community partners, county staff, faith leaders, school board reps and offices from all levels of government were brought together. I had the honor of serving as the emcee of the event.
I also got the opportunity to visit the Trillium Center, something I’ve had to delay due to the center going virtual at the onset of COVID-19. My staff and I met with the always-inspiring Cynthia Dudley, the center’s executive director, and her team. We learned about how much their service demand has expanded during the pandemic, and how they quickly managed to pivot to calls and virtual meetings to meet that demand. Peer support is baked into all that they do. Cynthia and most of her staff often speak from experience, having faced some of the very same challenges they are now helping other community members to overcome.
Following our visit, Cynthia posted the following to Facebook: “I am super excited about possibilities for Prince William. And so grateful that Supervisor Boddye understands and is committed to the needs of people living with mental illness. I was impressed and inspired.”
It is I who is impressed, and deeply grateful for the efforts of Cynthia and others like her, who work tirelessly to fill in the gaps in our mental health resources. We are long overdue to lend them a helping hand, addressing mental and behavioral health challenges on a community, local, regional, state, federal, and even global level. Cynthia is correct: I’m committed to doing everything I can from my small piece of that pie to getting it done. I’d also encourage anybody reading this to contact your state and federal representatives to advocate for their support as well. It is both the smart thing to do, and the right thing.